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From the news

Djokovic Passes Sousa Challenge In Paris

  • ontennis
  • 31 May 2017
  • 04:05

Novak Djokovic surged past Joao Sousa and into the third round of the French Open.

The defending champion looked in total control against a consistent player who has taken Andy Murray to four sets in their last two Grand Slam meetings.

But Djokovic had never dropped more than four games in a set to the Portuguese world No 59 and he continued that run with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 victory in which he broke his opponent's serve twice in each set.

It was his victory here at Roland Garros last year that completed a lifetime ambition of completing the career grand slam. Since reaching those heady heights his form has slumped but, with Andre Agassi in his corner, the 30-year-old is approaching the form that delivered a 12th major here in Paris last year.

His backhand looks in good condition - and he is now working with perhaps the only man on earth who is qualified to tell him how to hit that two hander - but there are still things to work on.

The forehand does still not look quite right, with 12 unforced and 26 forced errors coming on that side. After one such miss in the third set he flung his racket on to the clay. Queue hostile whistling from the Suzanne Lenglen crowd.

Still, he breezed through the first two sets. Sousa, while he is the type who could have punished Djokovic on an off day, does not have the weapons to break through his fully functioning defences.

The third set was less straightforward but, frustratingly for Sousa, despite winning his fair share of the rallies and carving out three break points, he was unable to puncture the Djokovic serve.

The 28-year-old's big moment came at 3-2 up, with an advantage on the Djokovic serve, but he netted a simple backhand and the world No 2 held.

As so often happens after a missed opportunity, Sousa immediately slipped up on his own serve, with a double fault and a dreadful missed volley allowed the Serb to break.

Two more break opportunities followed for the Portuguese in the next game, but again Djokovic stood firm.

And with that Sousa's race was run, and Djokovic moves on to face Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman - another canny clay court operator - in the third round.

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